Written by attorney Jeremy S Geigle

Arizona’s “Stupid Motorist” Law

On Sunday, July 28, 52-year-old Joseph Razon was driving a Canyon Coach Lines tour bus from the Grand Canyon Skywalk back to Las Vegas when he attempted to cross a flooded area. The bus, which had 33 passengers on board, was swept up and carried approximately 300 yards before falling onto its side. All of the passengers, including Razon, were able to escape the bus and no injuries were reported.

AZ’s “Stupid Motorist" Law

Spokeswoman for Mojave County Sheriff, Trish Carter told reporters that “if any charges are considered, it may very well be the ‘ Stupid Motorist Law.’ It is estimated that Razon attempted to drive through an area that received 0.75 inches of rainwater in a one hour timeframe.

A.R.S. 28-910: Liability for Emergency Response in Flood Areas

In Arizona, a driver can be held liable for the expense of emergency response in flood areas if the driver takes the vehicle on a public street or highway that is temporarily covered by a rise in water level, including groundwater or overflow of water, and that is barricaded because of flooding. The driver will be liable for any expenses that result from any emergency response which is required to remove the driver, passengers, or vehicle from the area.

A driver may also be liable for the expense of any emergency response if they are convicted of reckless driving into any area that is temporarily covered by a rise in water level, including groundwater or overflow of water. Barricades do not need to be present in this case.

The driver’s liability for expenses shall not exceed $2,000 for a single incident.

Reckless Driving in AZ

Though he has not been officially charged yet, Razon may face charges for reckless driving or endangerment, in addition to potentially being charged under A.R.S. 28-910.

In Arizona, a person is guilty of reckless driving if they drive a vehicle in reckless disregard for the safety of persons or property. Reckless driving is typically charged as a class 1 misdemeanor in AZ and may lead to license suspension.

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